Illustrator died in the River Medway

Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N ENGSUS00120130830151812
Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N ENGSUS00120130830151812

A 57-year-old Forest Row man died after lying down in the River Medway, an inquest heard.

David Howes’ body was found by his sister, Tessa Howes, on April 26, 2015. He was lying face up in the water near Burnt House Farm, with his arms folded across his chest.

An inquest into his death, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 22, heard how a post mortem examination could not ascertain a definite cause of death, although drowning and hypothermia were both given as possibilities.

Ms Howes told the court her brother had been in an aggressive mood in the days before his death, and was smoking a lot of cannabis. Mr Howes who worked as an illustrator, had been suffering with mental health problems for many years and was seeking help from a private clinic. He was also a recovering alcoholic.

On April 23, David was particularly distressed and went missing from his parents’ home. His family phoned the emergency services, who conducted a search of the local area. A man matching his description was seen acting oddly on Priory Road, but police could not find him. On the morning of April 26 Ms Howes went looking for her brother. She immediately headed to Burnt House Farm as she knew it was an area he loved. There, she found him lying face up in the shallow water, with his nose and mouth above the surface. Coroner Alan Craze said: “I don’t think he took his own life deliberately. He did go into the stream deliberately but not with a view to bringing his life to an end. He was suffering from severe psychosis.”

Mr Craze recorded a conclusion of misadventure.

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